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Applying via CAO

The CAO (Central Applications Office) manages most undergraduate applicants for the Higher Education Institutes in Ireland.

Generally, if you are eligible for EU fees* and applying for the first year of an undergraduate degree, you must apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO). It is best to (opens in a new window)apply online at www.cao.ie. The CAO handbook, which gives details of application procedures and closing dates, is available on the CAO website.

(opens in a new window)Central Applications Office
Tower House
Eglinton Street

* Please see EU fee assessment criteria.

Applicants not eligible for EU fees and transfer applicants (post-year 1) must apply directly to the University.

The normal closing date is 1 February, although there is a reduced application fee for applying before 20 January. Late applications are accepted up to 1 May except for categories of applicant (DARE,HEAR and Mature for most courses). Applicants who have previously studied in another third level institution please visit the transfer webpages..

You can select up to 10 different level 8 courses on the CAO form. When entering your course choices it is extremely important that you list your courses based on your genuine order of preference and not on assumptions about examination performance or what you think the points will be for a course.

At the offer stage, you will receive an offer of the course highest up on your course choices list(s) that you are deemed eligible for, if any. For example, if you receive your first preference Level 8 course in Round One you will not receive an offer for a lower Level 8 preference in subsequent rounds. If you receive an offer of your third preference course you may still receive an offer of your second or first preference course in a subsequent round of offers, but you will not receive an offer of your fourth preference course or lower.

Please note: you cannot place a CAO code on your CAO form twice even if there are different options within the course.

Documents already available should be sent to CAO immediately following application. All remaining documents and exam results you are presenting for assessment for entry to UCD must be with CAO no later than the dates below:

Mature supporting documents 15 February 
HEAR/DARE supporting documents 15 March 
Irish Leaving Certificate/A-level TBD mid August 
Other School leaving exams
   Examinations already completed
   Current year's  results
within 10 days of application
1 August 
Other applicants please see the relevant website QQI-FET
Transfer (relevant to all with previous third level)

For more information please see page on submitting results.

Admission to all courses is competitive (i.e. there are more applicants than places) and, other than access routes (e.g. mature years or QQI-FET), is based on the Leaving Certificate points system or equivalent.

For CAO applicants, we do not require personal statements or interviews (with the exception of Veterinary Medicine which requires evidence of work experience). All eligible applicants are scored using a points system based on the Irish Leaving Certificate. There are equivalent scoring systems for A-level and EU Applicants.  In the case of Medicine, the HPAT-Ireland results are taken in combination with the school-leaving results.

 Please note: if you have previously attended third level, you must declare it and some restrictions may apply.

See further information about CAO Selection and Undergraduate Offer and Acceptance Protocols.

CAO offers are made in a series of rounds:

Round A: Early July
For mature applicants and those who have deferred from the previous year.

Round 0: Early August
QQI-FET, graduate entry and any remaining mature offers

Round 1: Mid-August
All remaining applicants - this includes Irish Leaving Certificate, EU, DARE and HEAR

UCD aims to fill all places in round 1. Any places unfilled will be offered in a series of subsequent rounds during September.

UCD does not make any offers for the current year after the third week of trimester.

For CAO applicants, we usually receive two main batches of amended Leaving Certificate results.

  • In mid-September, following the viewing of scripts, we get amendments arising from clerical errors.
  • The main batch of amended results arising from full re-checks usually arrives in mid-October.

If your appeal is successful and you now have points sufficient for a higher preference, the CAO will notify us of this.

For early amendments, we endeavour to offer all such applicants a place for the current year but we cannot guarantee that you would be permitted to enter this year. Possible entry this year will depend on when the upgrade is received and if places are available in the programme. If we are unable to offer a deferred place will be given.

However, we do not make offers after the third week of trimester. This means that for the amendments received in October or later, eligible applicants can only be given a deferred place for the following year. We have been advised by the Department of Education and Skills that any student who accepts a deferred place in UCD as a result of an upgrade and who has already accepted and begun another university programme is permitted to remain in this programme for the year, without a fees penalty.

Please note that we cannot act on amended results until we receive official notification via CAO.

It is very rare but occasionally results are downgraded. If this means that you no longer qualify for the course you have accepted, your application will have to be reviewed.

  • Were you born outside the EU/EEA?
  • Have you, or your parents, lived outside the EU/EEA for 3 of the last 5 years?
  • Are you a non-EU/EEA National?
  • Have you previously attended a third–level institution (in Ireland or elsewhere)?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you should undertake a fee assessment at https://www.ucd.ie/students/fees/eufeeassessment/ which will determine whether you are eligible for EU fees. 

How do non-EU applicants apply?

If you are deemed to be a non-EU candidate for fees purposes, you should apply directly to UCD - see www.ucd.ie/global for more details.

As an applicant, it is your responsibility

  • to check entry criteria for the programmes for which you are applying. Please note, criteria can change from year to year.
  • to provide full and accurate information in the application and to notify the University and CAO of any changes or corrections made to the original application. We (UCD) may request verification from the issuing authority of any or all details on documentation presented. If documents are found to have been falsified the awarding body will be notified.
  • by accepting an offer, you agree to abide by the rules and regulations of the University.

In the light of additional information which was not available at the time of selection, an offer may be amended or, in exceptional circumstances, withdrawn. We also reserve the right to correct errors where they have been made in the communication of decisions and offers.

We (UCD) reserve the right to exclude a candidate who is considered on justifiable grounds to be unsuitable for a place on a particular course according to individual circumstances.

Full conditions of an offer are available here.

Prospective undergraduate students should note that the University holds induction events for freshers in the week prior to the commencement of lectures. This involves registration, academic advisory, social and orientation meetings. Lectures normally start in the 2nd week of September with orientation during the first week. Full information on academic term dates can be found here.

Contact UCD Registry

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 1555 | Location Map(opens in a new window)